Helping a Senior Loved One Relocate – Part III

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In the previous two parts of this series, our fictional daughter, Lisa, has prepared her mom for the idea of moving, discussed where her mom would like to move, and sold the family home after getting it organized and emptied. Now Lisa is facing the actual relocation of her mom to her new place.

Lisa’s mom decided she wanted to be closer to her grandchildren who live in a different state, so she is moving to an independent living facility near Lisa and her family that they found together. Because the trip will be more than a few hours, they have to decide whether they should drive or fly.

Driving vs. Flying

This decision will be based on how the senior prefers to travel. If they have never been on a plane before, which is more common than you might think, they may be more comfortable riding in a car, even though it will mean a longer trip. Taking pets and certain personal belongings will also be easier by car instead of plane.

Be sure to make reservations at a hotel with proper accommodations if your road trip will require an overnight stay. Find a room that is wheelchair accessible if your loved one is no longer mobile; ensure there are grab bars in the bathroom to keep them steady, and try to book a room that is close to the lobby or elevator to minimize the amount of walking needed.

If the senior is comfortable flying, pack all medications in their carry-on or yours, even if it won’t be needed during the trip. This will avoid having to get prescriptions refilled quickly in a new location if checked bags are lost or delayed. Most airlines will make special accommodations for those who have a hard time walking or getting around, so ask them about special gate passes or transportation within the terminal ahead of time.

Getting Your Loved One Settled in

Moving out of necessity isn’t nearly as exciting as moving into your first home or dream home, so your loved one may not be looking forward to it. Having their new place ready before they arrive will make it more inviting.

If you are unable to set up the new space, consider hiring a Senior Move Manager (SMM) to do it for you. An SMM can design a layout based on the belongings the senior is bringing with them and the floorplan of their new residence. They will arrange the furniture, unpack and break down boxes, put kitchen items in cabinets and drawers, make beds, and hang pictures on walls to help the new space feel like home.

Moving is an adjustment, no matter what age you are, but taking the proper steps can help smooth the transition for your loved one.

Helping a Senior Loved One Relocate – Part II

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In the first part of this series, we found Lisa faced with the difficult task of preparing to move her mom who was having a hard time safely navigating stairs and maintaining her 50-year-old home.

Now that Lisa has set the groundwork by talking to her mom about moving and organizing a lifetime’s worth of belongings, it’s time to find a new, more manageable place and sell the family home.

Finding a New Home for Your Senior Loved One

Based on their earlier conversation, Lisa can now help her mom start looking for a new place in the location she wants to be and with the amenities she wants or needs. Based on her mother’s health and ability to live on her own, she may be looking for a smaller, single-story home, condo, or senior living community. Another option they may have previously discussed was having her move in with Lisa or another family member. Senior placement specialists are available across the country and can help find the perfect place for a loved one, often at no charge to the client.

Once the new home has been selected, announcing the new address may help the move seem more positive. In addition to the standard change of address forms needed for banks, Medicare, investment accounts, social organizations, and subscriptions, encourage the your loved one to send cards to friends and relatives with their new address and anticipated move date.

Selling the Family Home

Selling the family home isn’t only hard on the individual moving out, it is often also difficult for the adult children and grandchildren who have also made memories there. In the case of Lisa, who is an only child, she has only her mother’s emotions and her own to take into account. In families with multiple kids, some may be able to easily part with the home while others are more attached and less willing to sell. Taking pictures of the interior and exterior of the home before it is sold and putting them in an album can help those who are having a hard time letting go and be a good reminder to seniors that they will always have their memories, no matter where they live.

The best way to move toward selling the home is to find a realtor who is familiar with the area and preferably has experience in selling seniors’ homes. They will have knowledge of the current local housing market, be able to assist in determining a list price, and even offer suggestions for potential updates that may make the home more attractive to buyers.

It is almost always beneficial to have the house organized and decluttered before listing it for sale. This can be time-consuming, especially if most of the immediate family lives out of town and is only available for a couple days here and there as their schedules permit. Using a senior move management company  ensures the home is ready to be shown by a given date and belongings are packed and removed on schedule by a professional mover. Their downsizing process includes organizing and categorizing everything in the home, moving belongings to be kept to the senior’s new home, and eliminating unwanted items through auction, donation, or purging.

In most situations, it’s best if the loved one can be moved into their new home before the old house goes on the market. They won’t be faced with strangers going through their home, which is difficult psychologically, and they won’t need to find somewhere else to go during showings, which can be difficult logistically.

In Part III, we’ll talk about actually moving your loved one and getting them settled into their new home.

Helping a Senior Loved One Move – Part I

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Lisa, an only child, had become concerned about her mom living alone in the home she grew up in. It was over 50 years old and was starting to require quite a bit of maintenance. Recently a supply line to an upstairs toilet had burst, causing extensive water damage on the first and second floors and forcing her mom to deal with claims adjusters, contractors, and having her house become a construction zone for weeks.

On top of that, her mom had been having dizzy spells and was becoming unsteady on her feet, an especially dangerous situation for someone living in a two-story home with a basement laundry room. Lisa knew it would be much safer for her mother to be in a newer single story condo or apartment where she wouldn’t have to worry about home maintenance or navigating two sets of stairs on a daily basis, but she also knew how much her mother loved her home and all of the personal items she had collected throughout her lifetime.

Expressing her concern for her mother’s well-being and discussing a possible move without upsetting her was almost more daunting than the thought of finding a new place and getting the family home ready to sell.

Helping a senior loved one prepare for a move has both an emotional and physical aspect, and it’s important not to neglect either part. In this article, we discuss setting the groundwork for an eventual move and preparing for the move.

Planning Before the Move Is Necessary

If possible, start talking to your loved one about the possibility of relocating long before the move is needed. Talk about where they might like to live, whether it be in the same area, closer to kids or other relatives, or a different climate. Having this conversation ahead of time ensures your loved one can be part of the decision-making process instead of potentially feeling like they are being told what to do.

Help them start thinking about what might need to be done to the house for it to be ready to sell. Are there items that might hold up an inspection if they aren’t repaired, or can a few inexpensive updates increase the home’s appeal? Have a realtor come see the home and do an assessment as to the current market price and demand for similar homes in the area.

Preparing for the Move

Create a calendar and make it available to your loved one so they know what’s going on and how the move is progressing. Having actual dates for each part of the process can help them prepare for the upcoming events and solidify the fact that the move is actually occurring.

Some items can be easily replaced if they become lost during the move, while others can’t. Before the move occurs, encourage your loved one to organize their important information such as life insurance policies, financial information and estate planning documents, and put them in a safe place, like a lockbox. You can also offer to keep them at your home during the move if they are comfortable with it.

Medical information should also be kept readily available in case a physician needs to be contacted. And prescriptions should be filled and kept with you or your loved one so they are readily accessible when needed, instead of packed into a box that looks like all the other ones.

Organizing a lifetime worth of belongings and deciding what should or shouldn’t move to the new place is often overwhelming. Make sure the senior is still taking care of themselves during this process by continuing to eat, rest, and take medications. Also, be there to offer emotional support in case they get upset, start having second thoughts about the move, or just want to share some memories. If you decide to use a senior move management company who is insured and bonded, their employees can be left alone to sort and pack, which allows your loved one to go out for doctor’s appointments or just to get away from the situation for a little bit.

Starting the conversation and getting ready for the move earlier rather than later will give both you and your loved one time to process the idea of them moving and to prepare so the eventual move doesn’t feel forced or rushed.

In our next post, we’ll talk about helping your loved one find a new place that fits their needs and the actual sale of the house. a long-distance move, and settling into their new place.

The Differences Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

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As senior move managers who work with seniors and their families, we come in contact with many people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia. These words are often used interchangeably when in fact they are two different things. In this blog, we’re discussing the differences between the two and some common myths about both.

Dementia

Dementia is not an actual diagnosis. Instead, it is a collection of symptoms that affect someone’s ability to function on a daily basis, remember things or communicate effectively. There are several types of dementia and Alzheimer’s is the most common type, causing 50%-70% of dementia cases, according to the CDC. Other diseases that can cause dementia include Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and vascular disease.

Other situations can cause dementia-like symptoms and can be reversed. For example, a thyroid condition or vitamin deficiency can cause memory loss and affect the ability to communicate, but resolving these issues can allow a patient to return to normal.

Common signs of dementia at the earlier stages include forgetfulness, being late and getting lost or confused in familiar settings. Dementia sufferers may start asking the same questions over and over, stop taking care of themselves, or have trouble remembering names or faces.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a disease in the brain that progressively affects memory and cognitive ability.  Protein deposits form and disturb the connections between brain cells, causing the ones that are cut off to die. The deposits most often start in the area of the brain that controls memory, language and thought, which is why memory loss and lack of communication are so prevalent in Alzheimer’s patients.

Symptoms of this disease usually appear after age 60, but the damage has been occurring years before the first symptoms are noticeable. After symptoms appear, the average life expectancy is eight years, but actual cases vary widely. There are no known cures for Alzheimer’s, only drugs that slow its progression in certain patients. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Myths

Dementia is just part of aging – While memory loss tends to increase in some people as they get older, not everyone over a certain age has dementia. If it truly was part of the normal aging process, everyone in their later years would be forgetful and have trouble communicating. This obviously isn’t the case.

Only old people have dementia – Unfortunately, people as young as in their 30s have been found to have symptoms of dementia, and early-onset Alzheimer’s can develop in a person’s 50s.

People with dementia don’t know what’s going on or what they want – The part of the brain that controls awareness is separate from the communication portion. So, those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s may know exactly what’s going on or what they want, they just can’t communicate effectively.

One of my parents had Alzheimer’s so I will too – While there may be some genetic connection with dementia and Alzheimer’s, only 5% of cases are familial, meaning there was more than one diagnosis in a particular family.

Alzheimer’s is caused by using aluminum pans, ingesting aspartame, having silver fillings, and getting flu shots – Theories about what causes Alzheimer’s are popular because it gives people hope that if they avoid certain things they can avoid ever having Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there is no evidence proving that any of these causes are legitimate, which means there is no way to guarantee you will never have the disease. However, as with most health-related issues, eating right and staying mentally and physically active may help deter the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

If you suspect a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, meet with a specialist who can make that determination and help you decide the best course of action.

 

The Most Important Conversation Is Also the Most Difficult

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The statistics regarding how many people think having an end-of-life plan is important and how many actually have one aren’t good, but they also aren’t surprising. Just thinking about the end of your life or the end of a loved one’s life is hard enough; talking about it can seem nearly impossible. How do you ask an older relative what they want the end of their life to look like? How do you bring up your end-of-life wishes to your children?

Because of our desire to avoid this uncomfortable and seemingly morbid topic, no matter which side of the conversation we’d be on, people are not experiencing the end of their life the way they want. Not having a plan is not only hard on the person who is reaching the end, it is also more difficult for family members who are left guessing, and even arguing, about the best course of action.

In an effort to encourage people to talk about end-of-life wishes, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) created The Conversation Project.

The Conversation Project encourages people to talk to others about their end-of-life wishes long before they near the end of their life. And even though the name implies there is only one conversation, IHI makes it clear that many conversations should be held about this topic because it’s important, there is a lot of information to cover, and people’s wishes may change over time.

End of Life Decisions to Be Made

When people think of end-of-life wishes, many think about what hymns they would like played at their funeral, whether they want to be buried or cremated, or who will inherit their belongings. But there are many decisions to be made regarding your life before pass away.

Medical wishes

·       If you have a disease, how aggressively do you want it to be treated?

·         How much do you want to know about your diagnosis? Do you want your doctor to estimate how much time you have left or would you rather not know?

·         How much say do you want to have in your treatment? Do you want to make the decisions or do you want your doctors to decide?

·         Where do you want to spend your final days, in a facility or at home?

·         At what point do you want your care to switch from trying to cure you to making you comfortable?

Family Involvement

·         Do you want your family to strictly follow your wishes, or do you want them to do what seems best in their opinion?

·         Do you want to be alone when the time comes, or do you want to be surrounded by family if possible?

·         Do you know who you want to make medical decisions on your behalf if or when you become unable to do it yourself?

These are just a few of the many topics that should be addressed before it’s too late to have the conversation.

Resources to Help Get the Conversation Started

The Conversation Project offers a free starter kit that can be downloaded from their website or ordered as a printed copy. This valuable resource can help you decide the most important topics you want to cover, who you want to include in the conversation, and when and where the discussion should take place. Their website also includes personal stories and articles from people who are involved in the project or have experienced the end of a loved one’s life.

Local groups are also bringing this issue to light through seminars and expert panels. Residents of Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati can attend these local Conversation Project events in the near future:

     October 5, 2017 -  6:00-7:30p.m. “Candid Conversations” Brookdale in Edgewood, KY

     November 9, 2017 – 5:30-8:00p.m. “The Conversation – It’s Never Too Early Until It’s Too            Late” First Baptist Church in Cold Spring, KY

reSettled Life is a proud supporter of this cause and believe strongly that these conversations are very beneficial. Amy Wright, owner and founder, recently emceed “Conversations That Matter” in Boone County and the company will have a vendor table at the “Candid Conversations” event in October.

When end-of-life wishes are known, loved ones can leave this life as they desire and allow their families to celebrate how they lived.

 

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Barbies

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The first Barbie was introduced at the American Toy Fair in 1959. She was created by Ruth Handler, whose husband, Elliot, was the “el” in Mattel. Ms. Handler named the doll after their daughter, Barbara. The doll was available with blond or brunette hair, wore a white and black striped swimsuit, and had blue eyeshadow. These original dolls, which had holes in the bottom of their feet so they could be put on a stand, are very valuable today, with one recently selling for $27,000.

Even from the beginning, Barbie was a fashionista. Over 20 outfits were available in the first year of production, including career clothing for an airline stewardess, nurse and ballerina. The ability to have multiple outfits for the same doll made Barbie different from the teen dolls being sold overseas. Three of the outfits were discontinued the following year, making them very valuable now, and six new ones were added.

There are three different lines of Barbies that people collect—vintage, collector, and playline—and each line has a certain trait that makes them collectable.

Vintage – Vintage Barbies were made between 1959 and 1973. After 1973, Mattel was sold to new owners who changed Barbie’s look, including making her a perpetual blond. Vintage Barbies are some of the most expensive ones to collect. If you decide to collect this era of Barbies, be sure you are buying truly vintage dolls. Many people think a doll with “1966” stamped on the bottom of one foot is automatically vintage, but this date is actually the year that particular body style was patented and can be found on much more recent dolls. Dolls from 1966 also have a patent stamp on their back sides.

Collector - Collector Barbies are exactly what their name implies—they are made to be collected. There are several lines of collector Barbies. Shero Barbies depict women who have broken boundaries and are positive role models for young girls. This line includes the likes of Gabby Douglas, Trisha Yearwood and Kristin Chenowith.

Silkstone Barbies resemble fashion models with their elaborate clothing. They are made from a harder, lighter-colored plastic to give the look of porcelain. Other collectable Barbies include characters from movies, like the recent Wonder Woman movie, and those made by famous designers. Perhaps the most expensive Barbie ever sold was designed by Stefano Canturi in 2010. The doll had pink and white diamond-studded jewelry and sold for $302,000, which was donated for breast cancer research.

Playline – This line of dolls was, and still is, manufactured to be played with by children. But that doesn’t mean you can’t collect them. Many people enjoy collecting this line because they remind them of their childhood and they are affordable. Playline dolls from the 80s and 90s still in their original packaging can be purchased for a reasonable amount.

While it would be impossible to collect one of every type of Barbie ever made, you can work toward collecting Barbies from a certain era or line. Or simply collect those dolls that appeal to you, whatever the reason. After all, it is your collection.

 

 

 

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Rookwood Pottery

With the Western and Southern Open currently being held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, this seems like the perfect time to talk about pottery. For those unfamiliar with this particular tennis tournament, these two things may not seem like they go together, but they do.

Rookwood Pottery was founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols in Cincinnati. During this time period, women were not allowed to paint on canvas but they could paint on ceramic or pottery, so Ms. Nichols started the first female-owned manufacturing company in the United States as an outlet for her own creativity.

The earliest Rookwood Pottery pieces were heavily influenced by Japanese and European art. Then in the early 1900s, the artists embraced the up-and-coming arts and crafts and art nouveau styles. By 1905, Rookwood was offering a production line of pottery that was still made by hand, but was only glazed, not hand-painted.

Today, Rookwood Pottery pieces range in value from hundreds to thousands of dollars, with the higher prices being mostly reserved for the vintage, hand-painted pieces. The company makes a variety of pottery including tiles, vases, figurines, coasters, frames, homewares.

As with jewelry , a lot can be learned about a piece of Rookwood pottery by looking at the markings found on the bottom. A backwards R followed by a P became the Rookwood mark. For the next 14 years, one flame was added to the mark each year, so pieces within this time period can be easily dated based on the number of flames present. When there was no more room for flames, the company chose to keep the mark with the 14 flames and signify the year it was made with Roman numerals below the mark.

If a piece was hand-painted or hand-sculpted by an artist, their initials can be found on the bottom. This mark is also called a cipher. You can even tell who applied the finishing glaze on some pieces based on the location of a “finisher’s dot” in relation to the other marks. A dot of darker glaze to the right of the company mark might signify one finisher, while a dot to the left might signify another.

Other marks on the bottom of a piece include shape numbers, size marks (A is the largest, F is the smallest), clay type, and whether the piece was a trial piece (T) or was imperfect (X).

But what does pottery have to do with tennis? When the first Western and Southern Open was held in 1899, Rookwood Pottery created the winner’s trophy. Then over 110 years later, in 2010, Rookwood was again asked to design the trophy to emphasize the tournament’s connection to Cincinnati. Rookwood has been providing the trophy every year since, and it is now called the Rookwood Cup.

Today, spectators can take home their own mini Rookwood Cup as a memento from the tournament. Only 1000 replicas are made each year and they are available exclusively at the matches.

If you have a piece of pottery that you have inherited or purchased, turn it over and take a look at the markings on the bottom. You just might be the proud owner of a piece of Cincinnati history.

 

Fast-Growing reSettled Life Welcomes Its Newest Team Member

Northern Kentucky Senior Move Management Company Hires Sales Director

Union, KY (July 10, 2017) – reSettled Life continues to increase its presence in the senior move management industry throughout Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati with the hiring of a much-needed sales director.

Jane Young brings over 30 years of sales experience to reSettled Life, most recently as the sales manager for Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in Edgewood, Kentucky. About her new role, Ms. Young says, “Until now, my position with Brookdale was certainly my most fulfilling. I have a passion for helping seniors and their families find the perfect place to call home. Joining the team at reSettled Life enables me to take the skills I have acquired in a slightly different direction, helping families with this often-difficult transition so they can focus on what really matters.”

The need for a sales director has arisen from the incredible growth reSettled Life has experienced since opening its doors in 2016. Owner and founder Amy Wright explains: “We defied the odds in 2016 by being profitable in our first year, and business is continuing to increase at a rapid rate. We have nearly tripled the number of senior moves we manage each month and doubled the number of auctions we hold for our clients. The time was right for us to hire a sales director so I can focus my attention on other parts of the business.”

In her new role, Ms. Young will be increasing the relationships between reSettled Life and senior communities in Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati area.

About reSettled Life

reSettled Life is a senior transition and auction company serving Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Southeast Indiana. They help families move loved ones from their homes into smaller homes, senior-friendly communities, or nursing facilities. Services include organizing, packing, unpacking, resettling, and auctions. Learn more at www.resettledlife.com.

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.

reSettled Life Partners with a Place for Mom

The senior move industry is only about 25 years old and as a result is relatively unknown, particularly in the Midwest. Getting the word out about what we have to offer is one of the hardest parts of being a small business in this field since we dedicate the majority of our resources to serving our clients. reSettled Life is hoping to reach even more seniors and their families in the Tri-State with our brand-new listing on A Place for Mom.

Since 2000, A Place for Mom has been helping seniors and their families by connecting them with senior services and housing in their area. The company employs over 400 senior advisors across the country who speak to the senior or a family member before making recommendations for assisted living or full-care facilities. This service is offered to clients free of charge.

In addition to this hands-on service, the website is full of helpful information about elder care law, senior health and dementia, paying for senior care, and senior moves. Local trustworthy companies such as reSettled Life are included in this information at no cost to the customer or provider. As one of the few senior move managers in the area, and the only one to offer in-house auction services with a licensed, professional auctioneer, we are excited to have our listing included in this well-known national network of providers helping seniors in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Dolls

Dolls evoke a wide range of emotions in people, from those who find them endearing to others who find their realistic, miniature features disconcerting. Those who love them often end up collecting them for a variety of reasons.

Some collections are started somewhat by accident. People often keep the dolls they played with as a child for sentimental reasons. Then when a family member passes, they inherit their childhood dolls as well. Before they know it, these doll owners are deemed collectors by friends who give them their dolls, knowing they’ll have a good home.

Period dolls appeal to history buffs and may be collected for that reason. Some collectors seek out dolls all made in a certain decade; others don’t care so much about when the dolls were made, but more about the era they represent through their hairstyles and clothing.

Many collectors seek out dolls that were made in a certain country or by a specific manufacturer, while others’ collections are comprised of dolls that represent countries they have visited or have an interest in.

If you have inherited a few dolls, or an entire collection, you can learn more about them in a few different ways. The era in which a doll was made can range from antique to vintage to modern. People are often surprised to discover dolls from the modern period are just as valuable and collectible as antique dolls.

The type of material used to make the doll can be a clue as to when your doll was made, although some of the materials cross over several decades.

·         Porcelain or bisque – Like many other household items, before unbreakable products were invented, dolls were made of porcelain. Oftentimes their arms, legs and head were porcelain and the bodies were stuffed fabric. Facial features were hand-painted on each doll, as was the hair in most cases. Porcelain was the most common material used in dolls until the 1870s, but it is still used today to create decorative dolls more than ones to be played with.

·         Celluloid – Although it sounds space-age, celluloid actually became a popular doll-making material in the 1870s. While it could still be crushed or cracked, it was more durable than porcelain and was much less expensive to manufacture. This material was also very flammable.

·         Composition – Composition dolls started being produced in 1910. The combination of glue and sawdust used to make this product was more affordable and easier to mold than celluloid. Dolls were often completely made of composition with jointed limbs, but larger ones can be found with composition arms, legs, and heads and fabric bodies, which helped reduce the weight of the dolls. This product was fairly susceptible to water damage.

·         Vinyl – Still the most popular product used in doll-making today, vinyl dolls started making an appearance in the 1950s. They replaced the composition and hard plastic dolls, giving children a toy that was softer and more pleasant to touch. Unlike previous dolls that had to essentially wear wigs to have hair, vinyl dolls have hair inserted directly into their heads, making it less likely their hair would come off.

To identify a doll, start with labels in clothing or on shoes, or any packaging that might be with it. Next, look for marks on the head, neck, torso, or bottom of a foot for a manufacturer’s name or trademark. Some older dolls may have the country of origin stamped on them, and antique dolls may have a mold number you can look up in a collector’s book. If you can’t identify a doll on your own, seek out a collector who might have found a similar one with its packaging or original clothing intact.

It used to be that collectors sold dolls based on a value printed in a book or a prior sale, but because of the internet, values of dolls vary greatly today. Now value doesn’t just depend on the condition or age of the doll. Those sold online by sellers with a solid reputation earn more than those sold by an individual. The quality of the photos posted can also affect the price. Pure luck plays a role too, as online sales are often based on who happens to see what you’re selling and whether or not they’re interested.

Whether you made a conscious decision to become a doll collector or inherited a collection from a family member, it can be a fascinating hobby.

 

 

 

reSettling Life's Treasures- Jewelry Markings

Even if you aren’t a collector, there is a strong chance you own some jewelry. During our senior moves, we often come across pieces with marks on them. These markings can actually tell you quite a bit about the piece if you know how to decipher them.

Any type of mark on a piece of jewelry is called a “hallmark,” and they are generally found in the same place on similar pieces. Rings will be stamped on the inside of the band, marks on necklaces and bracelets are generally on the clasp, and pins, earrings and brooches will be marked on the back. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find any marks at all. While jewelers are required to disclose the type of metal used, it does not have to be marked on the jewelry itself. This information can be included on a receipt, appraisal or even the price tag, all of which easily become separated from the jewelry or lost.

The mark most commonly found on jewelry is the purity mark, which tells what type of metal is in it. Gold is often expressed in karats and other metals are measured in percentages. The purest gold is 24 karat gold. It is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Lesser karats mean the gold has been combined with other types of metals. For example, 22 karat gold is about 92% gold and 8% something else such as copper, silver or palladium. As the karats go down, so does the value of the gold. If you have a piece of gold jewelry stamped “carat,” that doesn’t mean it’s misprinted or counterfeit, the piece was made somewhere other than the U.S. or Canada.

Sterling silver (SS) is the name of the purest silver used in jewelry. To be sterling, a piece must be over 90% silver. Other designations used on silver pieces are “silver-plated” and “EPNS” (electro-plated nickel silver). Jewelry designated as “nickel silver” does not contain any actual silver, it is just silver in color. A three-digit number on silver jewelry tells how much silver is in it. For example, “925” means the piece is 92.5% silver, so it is sterling. These three-digit numbers are also sometimes used on gold jewelry in place of karats.

Other purity marks you may find on jewelry include:

·       GF or GP – gold-filled or gold-plated

·       Vermeil – sterling silver with gold plating

·       Plat or PT – at least 95% platinum

·       Pall – at least 95% palladium

Your piece of jewelry may be able to tell you more than what it’s made of. A signature mark tells you who the manufacturer of the piece was. Just as the logos of well-known brands like Coke or KFC change over the years, jewelry makers often change the style of their signatures, so these marks can also give you an idea of when the piece was made. If the piece was made as part of a limited series for a retailer, a mark may signify that as well.

Very unique jewelry designs are often patented, and the patent number can appear right on the piece. U.S. patent numbers can be searched through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website and can provide a wealth of information, including the designer and when and where the piece was created.

If a piece of jewelry has gems in it, the weight of the gems may be stamped on it. If two numbers appear, the first number is likely the size of the largest gem (the solitaire) in carats, and the second number is the combined weight of all the others. “TDW” stands for the total diamond weight found on a piece with multiple gems. The gem weight may just be a number or it can be followed by “ct” or “cw.”

Deciphering the marks on jewelry is quite interesting, especially with pieces you have inherited or purchased from an auction or estate sale. Spend some time looking at your necklaces, rings, bracelets and pins—you may find a hidden treasure in your jewelry box!

Why Using a Senior Move Manager Makes Sense

In our previous article, The Difference Between Downsizing and Moving, we discussed how downsizing can be more challenging than a regular move. Using a senior move manager who, unlike a traditional mover, is trained and equipped to deal with these challenges can make a difficult transition easier.

With the gentle and expert guidance of an experienced SMM, older adults and families make the tough decisions without the emotional and physical distress that can follow. As a result, older adults and their families avoid the costly mistakes and disputes that often accompany such major life transitions.

The job of a regular moving company is to get everything from Point A to Point B, and reputable movers do a great job of accomplishing this quickly and safely. Senior move managers (SMMs) don’t just move a person’s belongings from one place to another. They provide a multi-faceted approach to the move process, from space planning in the beginning to post-move support and advocacy. Their oversight minimizes the chaos and stress associated with moving by addressing all aspects of the move process. SMMs are responsible for creating and executing a seamless action plan, customized to the client’s wishes. 

 

When a senior move manager is tasked with packing up a home, they do not pack just pack everything in sight and relocate them to the new residence. They ensure items are packed and distributed according to the family’s wishes. Each item in the home is designated to be moved with the older adult, distributed to a family member, sold at auction, donated or discarded. The person who is relocating will find themselves in their new location only with the belongings they wanted to take, not whatever was in the house. The previous home is cleaned and ready to be sold or occupied by another family member.

Because most senior moves involve downsizing, SMMs assess the new space before any items are moved to ensure everything that is moved will fit and be functional. They generally do not move their clients’ possessions themselves, but they contract with movers they trust and have worked with before, and they oversee the entire move. Once everything has been relocated, senior move managers do not simply leave it all or just empty the boxes the regular moving company has transported, they do a full unpack and resettle, paying close attention to detail to make the new residence feel as much like home as possible, creating a better environment for the older adult’s physical and cognitive health. 

Estate sale or auction services offered by many senior move managers turn unwanted items into income that can offset the cost of the move. This additional service prevents family members from having to sell items online or at garage sales and gives them more time to spend with their loved ones. SMMs handle the sale and distribution of the items as well as the collection of the proceeds when the sale is complete.

Senior move managers become extended family to the older adult and their families as they help navigate the unfamiliar territory of downsizing and moving. They advocate on behalf of their clients when others can’t or won’t. As members of the business community, SMMs have a network of trusted experts they share with their clients, including realtors and elder care attorneys. They can also offer insight on local senior living options such as 55-and-older communities and assisted living facilities.

Using a senior move manager who is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers ensures not only that your belongings will be relocated, but that your move is being overseen by a qualified, caring, ethical individual who understands your situation and will make the best decisions for you and your family.

The Cost of Not Using a Senior Move Manager

When people ask what reSettled Life does and we tell them, a common response is, “Why would I pay you to do that? I can do that myself and save the money.” Yes, we do charge for our services, and yes, you could do everything we do. But attempting to save money by not hiring a senior move manager may end up costing you more in the long run.

Loss of Time – There is no way to increase the amount of time we have in a day, week, month, or year. All we can do is use it as wisely as possible. Not hiring a senior move manager means time spent away from your spouse and children as you sort, pack, and move items.

After everything is sorted and the items to keep have been moved to the new home, more time is needed to either donate unwanted items or sell them at a yard sale or online. Setting up either of these is time-consuming, and assuming you make some sales, more time is needed to have everything picked up or delivered.

And while you may be spending time at your senior loved one’s home during the move, it isn’t quality time because you will be rushing to get things done instead of being able to enjoy your visit. A senior move manager takes care of the entire process so you can enjoy more time with your loved ones.

Loss of work – If your relative has lived in the home for years, or even decades, chances are you will not be able to clear it out in a weekend or two. This means you will need to take time off work. If you are fortunate to have vacation time, you will be using it to sort and pack instead of taking a vacation with your family or having a few days off to relax at home.

If you don’t have vacation days, you will be losing income for the days you miss. For senior move managers, this is our job, so we sort, pack, and move during the week while you are at work.

Loss of peace – Moving is incredibly stressful, regardless of the situation. Adding in the fact that some relatives may not agree with the move or how items are to be distributed makes it that much worse. While we are not counselors by any means, senior move managers are a neutral third party that can offer an impartial view or opinion. We also handle the actual move so family members aren’t arguing over who did more or didn’t help enough.

Another stressful part of moving is dealing with unwanted items. Selling them makes the most sense financially, but you have the burden of somehow making the items available to sell, bickering over prices with buyers and collecting the money and distributing the items.

Monetary Loss – This loss is ironic because doing it yourself instead of hiring a senior move manager was supposed to save you money. In addition to the loss of income from missing work mentioned above, the costs include buying packing supplies and renting a truck or hiring movers. This cost can increase exponentially if the movers you hire are scam artists or damage items in transit. Doing it yourself will most likely be more time-consuming, which means that much more time before the house can be put on the market and missing potential buyers.

Being faced with a house full of unwanted items is daunting. Instead of taking on the time-consuming task of pricing and selling these items, many people just donate everything. Or they may mark everything too low and miss out on potential income. Hiring a senior move management company – like reSettled Life – that offers an online auction service allows the items to sell at a price determined by demand, ensuring you aren’t pricing items so high they won’t sell or selling yourself short.

Don’t dismiss the thought of hiring a senior move manager because you think it will cost too much. Instead, set an appointment for a free estimate. Then factor in the non-monetary costs before deciding between letting us handle everything for you or doing it yourself.

It's National Auctioneers Week!

Auctioneers wear many hats. They are salespeople, entertainers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Many are also appraisers who specialize in certain collectibles or eras. And this week, they are the honorees of National Auctioneers Week. In their honor, here are some interesting facts about auctions and auctioneers.

·         Auctions date back to the ancient Greeks, with one of their most famous items on the auction block being the entire Roman Empire in 193 A.D.

·         The word “auction” comes from the Latin word “auctus,” meaning “increasing.” A fitting word since it’s the increase in prices that make auctions unique.

·         One of the most avid American auction bidders was George Washington.

·         During the Civil War, army colonels were responsible for selling off seized goods. As a result, auctioneers are still sometimes referred to as “colonels” today.

·         The oldest existing auction house was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1674.

·         The largest auction house is Christie’s, which has salerooms around the globe and holds approximately 350 auctions every year.

·         In the U.S. alone, over a quarter-trillion dollars exchanges hands at auctions every year, not including online auctions or eBay.

·         The traditional auctioneer bid call consists of a statement telling how much has been bid (“I have $5.00”) and a request for a higher bid (“Would you bid 10?”), both spoken at a high rate of speed.

·         In the auction world, “SOB” isn’t a dirty word, it stands for “suggested opening bid,” which is set by the auctioneer to get the bidding started.

While most auctions consist of everyday items, there have been many unusual things offered – and sold – at auction.

·         Hair from famous people seems to be a popular, although creepy, auction item. A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair clipped off after his assassination sold for $25,000 in Texas. A jar of Elvis Presley’s hair was allegedly auctioned off for $115,000. And when Britney Spears infamously shaved her head in 2007, the salon where she did it attempted to sell her golden locks for $1,000,000.

·         William Shatner’s kidney stone was purchased at auction for $25,000 in 2006. The proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity, causing the auctioneer to joke, “This would be the first Habitat for Humanity house built out of stone.”

·         The same company that bought the kidney stone purchased a 10-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich with a likeness of the Virgin Mary on it in 2004 for $28,000. According to the seller, the sandwich freaked her out at first, then brought her good luck and had never grown mold.

·         In 2008, a corn flake shaped like the state of Illinois sold on eBay for $1,350.

·         One would think you wouldn’t want a famous phone number like 867-5309. But someone paid $186,853 for it with a New Jersey area code.

·         And of course, there are many things that have failed to sell at auction, some of the most unusual of which include a grandmother from the UK and the entire country of New Zealand.

All kidding aside, auctions are a profitable way to sell items you no longer want to someone who does. If you have things you’re ready to part with, give an auctioneer a call. If not, call one anyway and wish them Happy National Auctioneers Week!

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Tall Stacks

In the second of our series on collections, we’re exploring the history and memorabilia – particularly the paintings – of the Tall Stacks Festivals held right here in Cincinnati.

Tall Stacks originated as a festival to celebrate the bicentennial of Cincinnati in 1988. Fourteen riverboats (aka tall stacks) dotted the Ohio River, and a crowd of over 700,000 people came to see them. Among the festivities was a race between Delta Queen and Belle of Louisville, the same boats that race in Louisville in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Because the festival was such a hit and drew such a large crowd, the city of Cincinnati decided to continue holding the festival, although not annually due to the large amount of work and funding needed to make it happen. Subsequent events were held in 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2006, with crowds numbering up to 900,000. The festival has been tentatively scheduled to return a few times since, but funding, logistics, and the lack of working riverboats has caused it to be cancelled each time.

In addition to seeing the riverboats, festival visitors could talk to volunteers dressed in period clothing and have their pictures taken, listen to music performed by several groups, eat food from numerous vendors, and of course, buy souvenirs. Memorabilia commemorating the event included pins, sweatshirts, t-shirts, trivets, mugs, hats, Christmas decorations, puzzels shot glasses, posters and photos. But the most sought after, and most valuable today, were the prints of a painting commissioned by the city and created by a local artist.

Frank McElwain is a Cincinnati native and resident of Walnut Hills. His paintings of the city are well-known and adorn the walls of many local businesses and homes. Organizers of the 1988 festival approached McElwain and asked him to create a painting depicting the riverboats that would be attending the festival. Imagining how 14 boats would look on the Ohio River at one time, the artist created a scene that included every one of them before they ever appeared in Cincinnati.

Only 500 prints were made of the painting, and 475 of them were sold for $300 each. The remaining 25 were remarques, which means the artist added a pencil sketch on the border of the print, and they sold for $500. The prints were so well-received that McElwain was asked to paint renditions for the next five festivals as well. Sometimes the paintings were during the day, other times they were at night. The 1999 painting focused specifically on the river and the boats because McElwain thought the construction of the new stadium made the riverbank an eyesore. But the one constant throughout all the paintings was that all the riverboats attending the festival that year were included, even the year when 19 boats participated.

Today, souvenirs from the Tall Stacks Festivals are quite collectable, especially in the Tri-State area. The most sought after memorabilia are the McElwain prints because of their uniqueness and limited number. A remarque print from the 1988 Tall Stacks Festival can sell for up to $2,200 because they sold out immediately at the inaugural event and are hard to find.
If you were fortunate enough to attend a Tall Stacks Festival, enjoy your memories and souvenirs, because it doesn’t look like the festival will be returning anytime soon. And if you would like some memorabilia from one of the events, it’s out there, you just have to look for it.

Trademark Granted to reSettled Life

Intellectual property law is an unfamiliar term to many people, but we see signs of it every day on the packages we buy and the products we use. This branch of law includes patents, copyrights and trademarks. This article focuses on trademarks because reSettled Life was granted one on February 7, 2017.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”

Two marks that indicate a trademark are a superscript “TM” and an “R” in a circle. The first mark signifies that a name or logo is being claimed by a person or company but has not been officially registered with the USPTO. The second mark stands for “registered trademark,” which means this trademark has been registered with the USPTO and is legally protected. Our name, “reSettled Life,” and our porch-swing logo are now trademarked.

Registering a trademark is not an easy process. The first step is to select a mark that is protectable. Common words in common fonts without any image would most likely not be able to be trademarked because they are found too frequently in everyday use. Once you decide on what you think is a unique name, font, and image, a search of the USPTO database will tell you whether or not your choice is different enough from other trademarks already registered for related services to be eligible.

A non-refundable application fee is required, and the process takes months – in our case eight months. Applicants are encouraged to hire a trademark attorney, which increases both the chances of success and the cost. Even after a trademark is registered, it is up to the owner to watch for other companies or individuals who may be using something similar to promote their goods or services and to take legal action if necessary.

You may be wondering right about now why anyone would go through this lengthy process. We can’t speak for other companies, but we know why we did it. Even though there are other senior transition groups out there, we think reSettled Life and the services we provide are special. From the way we handle our clients, initial consultations and moves, to our family of employees and the additional services we offer, there is no other company like us.

Unfortunately, there are people who don’t want to put in the hard work of creating a reputable company themselves, so they use the same logo as a successful company, or create a similar one, and take advantage of that company’s reputation. Not only does that take potential business from the original company, it can also tarnish their reputation if the impostor does a bad job, which is fairly likely to happen.

With a trademark on our name and logo, if someone tries to pass themselves off as us, we have the recourse to make them stop. We don’t ever want potential clients to be duped into thinking they are working with reSettled Life when they aren’t. And we want to protect our reputation so we can continue to provide our unique services to the community.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Depression Glass

In our line of work, we come across many personal collections. Items range from toys and coins to dolls and holiday decorations. Each of these collections has a story, both personal and historical. We would like to share some of those stories with you, starting with Depression glass.

Up through the early 1900s, glass items were made by hand. Each piece was individually poured, cut and polished, making glass time-consuming – and costly – to make. To own a piece of glass was a sign of privilege. When the Depression hit in the 1920s, glassmakers were forced to either find another way to manufacture glass or risk going out of business.

One such company was the Hocking Glass Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Named for its proximity to the Hocking River, the company was founded in 1905. According to the Anchor Hocking Glass Museum, the company could manufacture one piece of glass per minute when it started. Shortly before the Depression, they began using a machine that streamlined the process and allowed them to make up to 30 pieces per minute. The stock market crash forced them to create glass at an even cheaper rate, so they invented a machine that could make 90 pieces per minute. The glass made on this machine, and others like it in the area, came to be known as Depression glass.

In an effort to encourage people to spend what money they had in their establishments, business owners started giving away depression glass with qualifying purchases. Filling up your tank at a gas station could earn you a dinner plate, a trip to the movies on “Dish Night” could net a coffee cup. Some pieces, particularly drinking glasses, were included in packages of Quaker Oats and boxes of laundry detergent, and families would collect a complete set, one glass at a time. For larger pieces, like a platter or punch bowl, frugal housewives would collect multiple coupons or proofs of sale to send in at the same time.

Depression glass came in a variety of clear colors, including green, red, pink, amber, yellow and blue. Opaque glass was also available in white, jade green and black. The patterns printed in the glass often mimicked those used in the handmade glass only the truly wealthy could afford. For those with a little bit more cash, elegant glass was still machine-made, but had some finishing work done by hand after it was removed from the mold to smooth out edges or remove unsightly seams.

The reasons people start collecting Depression glass are as numerous as the collectors themselves. Many older collectors remember using it as children, while others fell in love with it while visiting their grandparents’ homes. Some simply enjoy the hunt and finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or consignment shop. The value of Depression glass varies widely, depending on your location and the rarity of the pieces.

There are several things to look for when buying Depression glass to ensure you don’t buy a less valuable reproduction piece. True Depression glass is lighter and thinner than replicated glass and it often has small bubbles within the glass. Scratches on a piece often means it’s authentic because these pieces were used in everyday life, not just put on display. Seams on lids from molds and straw marks on the bottom of the glass where it would have been set to cool are also signs that the glass is truly from the Depression era.

Whether you display it in a china cabinet or use it on a daily basis, Depression glass can bring a beautiful piece of history to your home.

 

I Hope You Dance

After stepping away from the business world over 10 years ago, to spend time raising our 3 kids, I always knew that I would enter back into the workforce in some magnitude, but never in my wildest dreams did I envision owning my own business. It wasn’t until some personal life experiences, including the loss of my grandmother, did I start to think about where my passions lay, outside of being a wife and mother.

I was blessed with an incredibly close relationship with my grandparents, my Pop and Grammy, and losing both of them at young ages less than 10 years apart, definitely had an effect on my life. When we lost my Grammy last year, there were so many things that needed to be done to wrap up her estate, but there were so many things that it was hard to know where to start and it quickly became overwhelming. Family members were frustrated and still processing their own grief and it was not an ideal situation. It was after that experience that my husband and I ran across information on the Senior Move industry and were blown away that there were actually trained, compassionate people that could help others in situations like ours to handle all that we had dealt with. And not only after suffering the loss of a senior loved one, but even during the process of any type of downsize and move into a smaller home or senior community. My interest was definitely piqued. 

The more I researched, the more the passions in my heart were stirred and the wheels of a background in business began turning. I loved the idea of helping others that were faced with difficult choices, when they didn’t know where to turn and what steps to take, that I could be the person that would help them navigate unfamiliar waters and they could just spend time with those they loved the most. I could handle the details of organizing, downsizing, packing, moving and resettling, as well as getting the house emptied, through purging or online auction sales, so the family could wrap up loose ends. This is where reSettled Life started, from a need, an idea and a passion.

I believe in this industry and I believe in this business. I know that my Pop and Grammy would be so proud of me and what I have created. I remember the sweet words my Gram whispered to me after my high school graduation, ones that I have never forgotten, she simply said “I hope you dance.” My husband and my kids are my dance and now reSettled Life is also. I can’t wait to see where this dance takes me and to help those faced with their senior transitions. 

Why Auctions Are the Best Way to Sell Unwanted Estate Items

Losing a loved one or moving them into a long-term care facility or senior living community can not only leave you emotionally drained, it can also leave you with a home full of belongings to deal with. While you and your family may want to keep some things for financial or sentimental reasons, chances are the majority of the belongings will need to be either sold or donated. Out of the numerous ways to sell unwanted items, the safest, easiest and most profitable is an auction.

Auctions are more profitable – As we discussed in a previous post "Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?", items tend to sell for a higher price at an auction than an estate sale because bidders start low and drive the price higher instead of seeing a set price and potentially haggling for a lower one. Auctions are also more profitable than yard sales because they reach a larger market and people have several days to bid on items. With a yard sale, you are limited to the people who are available to come during the hours you are open, and when a customer offers you a price, you either have to take it right away or risk not having anyone stopping by who is interested in it.

Auctions are safer – Craigslist is a popular way to sell things and it casts a further net than a yard sale while still staying local enough for you to avoid paying shipping costs in most instances. However, there is the issue of getting the item to the buyer, which involves either them coming to your home to see or purchase what you’re selling, or you meeting them in a neutral place to make the exchange. Both of these options create a potentially dangerous situation. People have posed as potential buyers to gain access to a home, then come back to break in and steal things. This can also occur at yard sales if you have large items that are for sale but are still in your home. With an auction, only the people who have already bid and won items will be coming to the home, and the pickup is staffed by the auction company who is fully insured and bonded. Some auctioneers offer a two-hour or by-appointment-only preview time, which is also fully staffed.

Auction payments are more secure – Unless you sell things on a regular basis, you are probably not set up to accept credit cards, leaving cash or check as the only methods of payment. If you accept a check for a large purchase at a yard sale and it bounces, getting your money will be extremely challenging. And chances are a buyer will not be willing to wait until the check clears to come back to pick up a purchase. Mobile payments like Venmo allow you to take electronic payments, but buyers can cancel the fund transfer after they receive the item and before the money is deposited into your account. Buyers at an auction or online auction use credit cards to pay, making it more likely you will receive the money. Even if they do not pick up their purchases, per the terms and conditions of the auction the auction company can still charge their credit card and you receive the proceeds. The paid-for but unclaimed items are given to charity or you can choose to keep them.

Auctions are easier – Wouldn’t it be nice if someone came in and sorted everything you had to sell, made it available to buyers, handled the payments and purchase pick-up, and gave you the proceeds? That’s how auctions work. No more sorting, pricing, praying for good weather, lugging things outside, haggling over prices, or dealing with strangers. This doesn’t mean you have no control over the sale. You and your family members will decide what you want to keep before anything is put into the auction.

You’re dealing with enough already. Let a licensed auctioneer handle the unwanted items of the estate.